2015’s most awesome and awful moments

2015 received most of its mail here. Photo: Selena N. B. H. on Flickr.

2015 received most of its mail here. Photo: Selena N. B. H./Flickr

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, this year of the Lord, 2015. But if you ignore Trump, ISIS and hoverboards that catch on fire (but don't hover), it was more awesome than awful.

For folks who love action sports and the outdoors, it’s a great time to be on the breathing side of terra firma. Mostly.

Below is our list of the awful and awesome of 2015.

Awesome: Asphalt pump track that’s equal parts pump track AND skate park

Skateparks and BMX tracks are great for enthusiasts but tough for beginners. Not the new pump track in Brooklyn.

Built by Velosolutions USA, it’s fun for kids, their parents and everyone in between. We’d love to see more of these parks across the country because the best playgrounds are fun for users of all abilities, on two wheels, as well as four.

Awful: drones for fishing

The Aguadrone in action at the San Diego River. Photo: Aguadrone.

The Aguadrone in action at the San Diego River. Photo: Aguadrone

Nothing torpedoes the beauty of the great outdoors quicker than the incessant “you’re-being-surveilled” buzz of a drone. And the deeper one gets into the backcountry, the more dropping one out of the sky is justified.

If you need a drone to catch your fish, maybe you should just grab fish sticks in the freezer section.

Awesome: The rise of bikepacking

Getting into the woods for an overnight adventure can give even big cities like Los Angeles, Los Vegas or San Francisco a touch of Walden pond. King of the “run what you brung” ethos, bikepacking is all about getting out there, instead of loading up on new gear.

Awful: Spiritual Gangster clothing

when tha Lord ya homeboy fa real 🙏🏻 #shopping #spiritualgangster #whateverthatmeans

A photo posted by Rachel Quimby (@rmquimby) on

What Trump is to American democracy, what “Life is Good” is to outdoor goods, Spiritual Gangster is to yoga.

Neither “spiritual” nor “gangster” (yup, on the side, we’re the Karma Police), we try to be pretty positive when we’re on the mat, but this overpriced clothing makes us wonder if “Spiritual Gangster” is Sanskrit for, “I just rushed a sorority, and we have yoga on Tuesdays at the house, so I borrowed daddy’s credit card and went to Bloomingdale’s to get this awesome top!”

Awesome: Bike race/event directors getting creative

Whether it’s the gravel grinder gran fondo on steroids known as the Belgian Waffle Ride (130 plus miles of road and off-road terrain), a bike race in one of the biggest ghost towns in the country or the new Grinduro where a beautiful ride through the Sierra Nevada Mountains is broken up into a handful of timed sections, ending in a party with rad music like that of Mike Watt and the Missing Men, it’s great to see bike event organizers creating funner (it’s only not a word if you hate fun) events than ever.

Another rad series that’s great to see growing is The Wolfpack Hustle.

Awesome: Tiny houses

Although there’s a bigger picture about the rise in popularity of small homes (largely, wealth stagnation for all but the richest Americans), it’s great fun to see that folks are creating cool homes with small carbon footprints.

One of these homes is a treehouse with a skatepark! Small homes are a trend that’s probably going to continue, especially if the economic terrorists like the Koch Bros have their way.

Awesome: More bikes and beer

A brewery with its own bike park? Amazing. More pedal-powered bars coming to California (the Golden/amber state)? Even better.

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